My Labour branch wrote a motion to Labour’s NEC, Mr McNicol – where is it?

NEC chair Paddy Lillis. Here he is unhappily announcing Jeremy Corbyn’s retention of the Labour Party leadership, despite his NEC’s best efforts to prevent it [Image: BBC].

Yes, this is about the motion I wrote after Labour’s former NEC chair, Paddy Lillis, acted unconstitutionally in overruling the will of the party conference last year.

He refused to accept demands that a package of 15 changes, including the addition of unelected representative of Scottish and Welsh Labour to the NEC, should be considered individually.

This means that the additions – along with the other 14 changes – are not valid and party members should not consider themselves bound by them or any decision made as a result of them.

Steve Walker, who writes SKWAWKBOX, contacted me with the information he had received from the NEC member, and I said it would be better for him to write the article about it, as I am too closely involved.

I did ask the Brecon and Radnorshire CLP secretary if he could cast any light on the matter, and he told me the information he had received was that the motion had gone to the NEC for “noting”. He speculated that this could be the limit of any discussion as the motion asks the NEC to do something it cannot constitutionally do – overrule conference.

But then, Mr Lillis overruled conference too – something he could not constitutionally do, in order to get his changes passed.

So, in constitutional terms, if my CLP secretary is right, I think the NEC is on very thin ice indeed!

As for the motion… Time is moving on. It would probably be better to bring a new resolution to this year’s conference, calling for the nullification of the package of 15 changes, and for each measure to be re-considered individually; for those responsible for pushing through the package, against the will of conference, to be reprimanded and for an ad hoc, independent body, separate from the NEC, to be set up to consider whether these people should be removed from any positions of responsibility.

That sort of thing. We take our democracy seriously in the Labour Party nowadays.

Last October the Welsh CLP of Brecon and Radnorshire (B&R), approved a motion declaring the unlawful addition of two unelected members to the NEC during Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool.

In accordance with normal procedure, as soon as it was approved the B&R motion was sent forward by a member of the CLP’s executive for the NEC to discuss – and acknowledged by the General Secretary.

But the SKWAWKBOX has obtained emails between a north-west Labour member and a well-known member of the NEC, which culminates in the latter denying that the motion was ever received by the committee.

Either Mr McNicol appears not to have sent the motion forward to the NEC or he sent it to someone in the NEC and they didn’t give it to the rest of the organisation committee.

Another NEC member, in a separate discussion, commented that

“CLP motions never get to the NEC.”

If the latter NEC member’s claim is true – and the confirmed instance involving the Brecon motion tends to support that conclusion – then it is further evidence of the apparent disdain with which many at Labour HQ regard their members.

Source: McNicol/NEC ‘disappearing’ inconvenient Labour documents? | The SKWAWKBOX

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  1. Charlie Mansell January 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Neither the NEC or CAC have been known to revisit Constitutional amendments, but as we all now know the NEC is much more 13-10-12 rather than 18-17 (no one has ever once come up with a list of 17 people who vote the same way to disprove this) this is not surprising. More importantly 4 regional Labour conferences since 2016 Conference covering half the 540,000 membership have not shown this is going to change in the short term based on their regional election results. Thus patient activity over a number of years is what really matters now rather than a battle over an event, however badly wrong at the time, that is not going to be changed in the short-term bearing in mind the 80% size of the vote (and no change at regional conferences since) at 2016 conference

    • Mike Sivier January 19, 2017 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Was it even mentioned at these regional conferences? Or was it kept off the agenda?
      Your representation of any NEC split is based on what, exactly? Votes are either for or against and I haven’t seen any vote represented as 13-10-12.
      And you misrepresent the vote at the national conference. Having been forced – unconstitutionally – to vote on a package of 15 measures, some of which were good, the majority of members provided their support for the sake of the good stuff. It is wrong to suggest that this means they supported the rest and they should never have been put in that position.

      • Charlie Mansell January 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

        My point on regional conferences is that they are not more left than the last annual conference. Indeed London was arguably much further right. So if you are expecting a reverse of constitutional amendments because the composition of conference is about to change, there is no actual evidence that will happen from 4 more recent voting conferences. Interestingly nobody has reported on all the successes for the left at them – why is that then?

        Also even after Len most likely wins in Unite the dynamic of Unite will have shifted as instead of a SWP/SP candidate polling 30% to the left of Len instead Coyne will probably poll 35% to the right. Thus the centre of gravity in Unite has changed even without a change of General Secretary and this will impact on Unite’s intervention at Labour conference. Unite’s political debate is now focusing much more on limits to immigration under Brexit rather than a radical policy agenda within Labour

        Lots of the above also explain why Momentum has sensibly developed its new structures to focus on what actually will be a long-haul of developing strong networks of people rather than seeking to duplicate separate structures which takes people away from activity at CLP level over the long-term where people need to earn trust to get elected into lots more roles

        My point is that the NEC is not voting solidly 18-17 on everything. The voting is more mixed. Left on policy and right on organisation. In other words there are around 13 who vote left, 10 who vote mixed and 12 who vote right. Have a look at the names and tell me what you think the score is then?

        I would agree with you that conference delegate should never been put in that position, but they were and as I explain in some detail above, the chances of that reversing at either NEC or Conference level next year are extremely low. It’s better to look ahead for the future battles now such as number of MP nominations for leader rather than spend too much time on a bad situation which is in the past now

        • Mike Sivier January 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm - Reply

          I wasn’t expecting anything based on the kind of people attending conference; the reason the vote was wrong is that it was unconstitutional, according to the rules of the Labour Party.
          Your comment on NEC voting is interesting but impractical. You suggest that some people vote the same way all the time while others are mixed, but the all vote according to their consciences, and any named vote can have only one of two outcomes.

  2. Neilth January 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    So clp’s are being ignored by the party ‘organisation’ in London. Quell surprise as the saying goes. This party has been moving away from a democratic structure for many years and it’s high time the damage inflicted by the leadership and the NEC was reversed. There has been a steady erosion of membership power since the eighties partly as a response to the entryist Militant cadre.
    Unfortunately this removed power from Conference and the CLPs which has never been re addressed.

  3. Roland Laycock January 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    What more insider dealing by corrupt people to try and get there way and still nothing is done to these people

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